Last weekend marks 8 weeks since the day my tendonitis reared it’s head and caused me to pull out of my training. For the most part, I stayed upbeat and positive. I could spin, swim, aqua jog, use the elliptical and weights, so I was enjoying the mix of training.
By the 5 week mark when I was able to ease back in, I had a few good runs and then one run with a little pain that brought everything crashing down for a few days. Isn’t it funny how that can happen?
From that one run, I was sure I was back to square one. That I would need another 6 weeks off. That my body was done with road running for good.
And then there was the issue of my name… mommy run fast? What do I share on Instagram if I’m not running? What do I blog about? What if I’m done with running for good? Should I change my brand and pick a new name?
Have you ever had a runner’s identity crisis? I think that’s what I would call my experience. But it gave me a healthy perspective that, in retrospect, was much needed.
When everything is feeling good and all systems say go, I go!! And push and push and push. How much more can I increase my mileage? How many more minutes might I be able to shave off my race time?
Social media rewards intensity. The longer you run, the more likes a photo receives. The bigger the challenge, the better! This is not helpful for my somewhat addictive personality.
As I stepped back and considered being done with running for good, a strange thing happened… I realized I could be okay with that. During this running break, I
- actually really enjoyed my spinning, swimming, elliptical-ing, and strength training
- felt fitter and stronger after a swim or strength workout than an easy 5 mile run
- found my body was happier and more balanced without the long runs
- had more energy on the weekends (and week days) to really play with my kids, swim around in the pool with them, and happily take them more places because I didn’t need a nap or wasn’t worn out from training
- found my appetite was more balanced and I thought less about food, eating at normal times and not needing all the extra snacks
- had more quality family time and my kids noticed and appreciated my energy
I signed up for the Richmond marathon and part of me really wants that 3:15. I can’t quite understand why. I mean, I totally get it when I’m in training, but when I step back, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What difference does a 3:23, 3:15 or sub-3 make next to my name in the big picture?
My kids will only notice the additional hours that I’m gone and the added exhaustion when I’m with them. My husband will have to pick up the slack around the house. My body will be back in the stressed zone- is it worth it?
The answer might be yes.
It might be no.
I’m still wrestling with the next immediate goal, but I appreciate being forced to consider how running fits into my life for the long term and to know that regardless of what happens, I will be just fine.
Have you had a runner’s identity crisis? Have you found an injury took you through all the emotions?
Does running start to define who you are and what you do? I think it’s natural to be proud of our accomplishments and plan around races and training runs but it’s also easy for this to go too far (for me).